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Posted at 2:49 PM ET, 08/12/2008

The Rant: DC Is the Funniest City...After Montreal?

By Michael Cavna

When it comes to comedy, with all due respect, this month's GQ magazine has all the ham-handed insight of a Gallagher routine.

We've no beef with Seth Rogen cracking the cover of the recent "Comedy Issue," you understand, and that Will Ferrell Script-O-Matic graphique is pretty swell. No, what convinces us that GQ's editors toked too much of Rogen's own stash comes down to one sole pick: the mag's choice for "Funniest City."

New York? Nope. L.A. or Chi-Town? Go fish, friend-o. No, some rogue Canuck apparently infiltrated the editorial offices at Times Square or hacked their Macs, because their civic pick is: Montreal. Mon-tre-AL! (As the "South Park"-ers like to sing: "Blame Canada.")

Now, normally we would not so belittle our fine French-speaking friends to the north (and ambassador Michael Wilson looks like a tres-pleasant gent in person, near as we could glimpse). But here's the thing: As we spoke with folks at the DC Comedy Fest over the weekend, we became convinced: Comedically, Montreal has absolutely nothing on Washington.

We asked a number of festgoers who write material -- including the occasional comic gag -- to tick off the continent's "funniest cities" (criteria that umbrella both performer pool and quality-of-audiences). We heard the usual suspects: N.Y., L.A., Chicago, Boston, Toronto, with nods also to San Francisco and Atlanta.

What about this nation's capital? Some comics were willing to consider the city's potential. After we conceded most of the entire 20th century to the Big Apple and hailed the Windy City as the everlasting king of improv, we offered this, to wit:

In terms of standup performers -- talents with regional ties who really blossomed in THIS decade -- the D.C. region's opening bid includes Dave Chappelle, Lewis Black and Wanda Sykes, who all crack Comedy Central's "Top 100" List of Best-Ever standups (issued in 2004). Martin Lawrence and Mo'Nique must also be name-checked (and we're not even dipping into the next tier of veterans, a la Tommy Davidson). And consider that Comedy Central is said to be high on rising comic Red Grant, and that Howard University's Erin Jackson is getting second looks on such shows as "Last Comic Standing."

And why do we delve into all this, exactly, in a comics blog? Because a community's humorists -- including smart cartoonists -- can feed off that vibe and reputation and audience receptivity. If Aaron "Boondocks" McGruder can grow his talent here before heading to L.A. (in the land that also has Frank "Liberty Meadows" Cho and Richard "Cul de Sac" Thompson, among many talented others), then it bodes well for the future of Washington's 'tooning community.

Don't let GQ get the last %$#@ laugh. Pardon our French, but we need someone to blame besides Canada.

Agree? Shout it out. Disagree strongly? Then post below, but you'd better pretty amusing about it, or you'll merely reinforce our point.

By Michael Cavna  | August 12, 2008; 2:49 PM ET
Categories:  The Rants  
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Comments

You lost me in your first paragraph.

Gallagher (who hails from NC) is more than just sledge-o-matic. Listen to his insights on babies, and his rants on English are second only to Carlin (NYC, of course).

Posted by: f2 | August 12, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Chappelle before he went AWOL was truly watching someone in their prime. Hands down the funniest guy to come out of DC.

Posted by: dmb | August 12, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

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